Advanced Television

News Corp: European pay-TV spree?

July 11, 2008

James Murdoch, head of News Corp TV in Europe, is said to be considering bids that would bring Premiere of Germany and Digital+ of Spain into the group's European pay-TV family. The two satellite broadcasters together would cost more than E4 billion analysts say.

Although News Corp is already a shareholder in Premiere and has been mentioned in connection with Digital+, a bid for both is a stretch and the story in the WSJ had no named sources, however the WSJ is now owned by News Corp, so one can assume its sources are well informed. The story will certainly be useful in testing market and regulatory reaction in the countries concerned.

In Germany News Corp already owns 25.01 per cent of Premiere and is looking to install its management. In Spain, media conglomerate Prisa is considering selling its Digital+ unit. The sale process is likely to begin by the end of July. Other possible bidders include Vivendi, Spanish cableco ONO, and Telefónica

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